While the Associated Press is regarded as the standard, the definitive when it comes to the All-Pro team, it is the Pro Football Writers of America that is tasked with compiling an All-Rookie team. The AP doesn’t even put out such a team, outside of the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year Awards.
I don’t think it should be anticipated by any means that Pittsburgh Steelers rookie inside linebacker Devin Bush will be expected to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. However, it should come as no surprise that he did make the PFWA’s All-Rookie team. He was fittingly paired with Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie Devin White as two of the three linebackers on the list.
The 2019 PFWA All-Rookie Team and rookie honors: pic.twitter.com/mmHVHWWQFx
— Pro Football Writers (@PFWAwriters) January 14, 2020
Third-round wide receiver Diontae Johnson may have been in the running when it comes to the wide receivers, as he put up good numbers with 59 receptions for 680 yards and five touchdowns, but this was a particularly strong rookie year for that class. A.J. Brown and Terry McLaurin were ultimately chosen, over others such as Marquise Brown as well.
Both the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals were left entirely off the list, though the Cleveland Browns did get two players to represent them, those being their kicker and punter. So just three players in all represent the AFC North.
As for Bush, he was a day-one starter, though he didn’t always receive a full game’s workload every week. He became the first player in Steelers history to record 100 or more tackles during his rookie season, finishing with 109 in all, with nine tackles for loss. He also had one sack, two interceptions, four passes defensed, a forced fumble, and four fumble recoveries. His six total takeaways, I believe, were the most among all rookies as well.
Despite a successful rookie campaign, the team will be expecting to see a big jump from him in year two, not just physically but cerebrally. He will probably be expected to be the one to set up the defense in 2020, something they had been working on grooming him to do since rookie minicamp. It ultimately proved to be more than they wanted to give him this year, so they walked back that idea and just let him play.
It should be fun seeing how much further he can take his game from year one to year two. He already plays with speed, but he can play even faster, more precise, more sure. One thing he definitely needs to improve upon is his work in zone coverage, which can take time to learn at this level in a more nuanced scheme.